Program and Project Manager (FAC-P/PM) Update - Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)
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Veterans Affairs Acquisition Academy (VAAA)


Program and Project Manager (FAC-P/PM) Update

July 2, 2013

Federal Acquisition Institute LogoFrom Page 9 of the Issue 3 Summer FY 2013 External link to a government website
FAI Quarterly Newsletter

The VA Acquisition Academy (VAAA), Department of Energy (DoE), and the Federal Acquisition Institute (FAI), have teamed up to create a new course offering for entry level certification.  The new course, “Acquisition Fundamentals of Program and Project Management” will be a blended course, combining a distance learning (DL), online course of approximately 40 hours, with a one week resident classroom course.  The DL increment is a prerequisite before entering the classroom phase, and completing both course increments is required for full course credit.  Both the VAAA and the DoE contributed much of the content for the DL increment currently under development at FAI.  The VAAA and FAI will team up later this year and develop the one week classroom increment.  The new course is scheduled for availability in January 2014.

The FAI, VAAA, and DoE saw the need for more flexible PPM training options in budget constrained times where travel costs, curriculum development resources, and time constraints would force some tough decisions on workforce and training managers.  VAAA Vice Chancellors Richard Garrison and Paul Graf, Department of Energy’s Workforce Manager Linda Ott, and FAI PM Program Executive Bruce Moler worked together and launched this great training opportunity to leverage existing content, expertise and resources.  This is yet another example of the collaborative spirit among these interagency members of the PPM Functional Advisory Board (PPM-FAB) and the Federal Acquisition Council on Training (FACT).

TEAMWORK - coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. ~Henry FordThe idea behind a blended course offering is a relatively new direction in training delivery for PPM certification.  The DL increment focuses on imparting the knowledge and comprehension topics, while the classroom phase raises the bar to application of those topics using a casebased approach with students working in teams the same way they apply PPM skills on the job.  This approach reduces travel costs and limits the time employees are away from their job location.  Rather than the traditional four weeks of classroom training, a workforce member can complete entry-level certification training in one week of resident training.  And the DL portion can be taken anywhere there is internet access, including the student’s duty station, while on business travel, or at home.

Bruce Moler of FAI met with a top-notch team of course managers at the VAAA’s Program Management School who agreed to design the resident training.  The VAAA lives what they teach - each development effort at the Academy is run as a project using the model the Academy delivers in its FAC-P/PM curricula.  Once FAI’s development of the DL phase matures and approaches completion around July 2013, FAI and VAAA will start a 60 – 90 day effort to develop the resident portion of the course. Using good instructional systems design, FAI and the VAAA took the traditional load of 112+ hours of resident classroom training at the entrylevel, and distilled it down to about 80 total hours without loss of required learning outcomes.  The course presents the PPM topics in a generic fashion and is relevant across all Federal agency acquisition efforts.  Agencies can supplement this blended course with their own agency-specific learning objectives to satisfy unique training requirements.

The FAC-P/PM represents a much needed skill set for the Federal acquisition work force.  “Acquisition Fundamentals of Program and Project Management” is another collaborative step toward competent and confident PPMs, armed with the right skill set to take on the challenges ahead.

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